Improving Online Visibility with Local Business Listings


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Improving Online Visibility with Local Business Listings

  1. 1. Improving Visibilitywith Online LocalBusiness ListingsAN EXECUTIVE BRIEFApril 2011
  2. 2. Executive SummaryClaiming, adding, and validating your online business listing page in Google, Yahoo, and Bing canincrease your business and website traffic, draw new customers, and reduce your marketing costs whileincreasing your local business’ Internet visibility. By claiming your page, you can tell the search enginesdirectly about your business by using your relevant, business-critical keywords and improve trust in yourgeo-location for better Local Search rankings. These business listing pages are often added to location-specific search results, giving your business listing more space on the search results page. Claiming,updating, and maintaining these business listing pages is easy and, in most cases, free.IntroductionWhether you own a barber shop or a home electronics store, with 97% of consumers using the Internetto research products or services in their local area before they buy, and 53% of Bing mobile searchqueries focusing on local results, maintaining a local search presence for your business is critical to yoursuccess. Fortunately, Google, Bing, and Yahoo offer online business listings to help promote yourbusiness to local Internet users. And best of all, most are free!Instead of waiting for your web developer to update your website and for the search engine spiders tocrawl your web copy, online local business listings provide a channel for you to deliver businessinformation directly to the search engines for inclusion in search results. Some businesses who claimand utilize their business listings say they get as much as a 10% increase in new customers. You can usethis local listing to reduce your current marketing costs or to augment your existing campaigns. Inaddition, you get: Improved visibility for your products and services Easy, do-it-yourself update capabilities Free monitoring and analytics tools Coupon distribution for mobile devices and print Maps and driving directions Reviews and ratings collected from throughout the webBusiness listings are originally compiled from crawl dataand information from trusted sources such as the BetterBusiness Bureau and other business directories such asInfoUSA, Acxiom, and Localeze. A link to the businesslisting page is then added to local search results along withinformation taken directly from that page. It’s definitely toyour advantage to claim your local business listing beforeyour competition claims it. Then, you can correct oraugment the listing, add pictures or videos, select Page 2 of 9
  3. 3. categories, and use any of the features offered such as map tags and coupons.Links to these local business listing pages are often added to mainstream location-specific search results,giving your company listing greater visibility and allotting them more space—and therefore moreimpressions—in the search results devoted to your business.SEO BenefitClaiming and completing your business listing gives you the opportunity to optimize that page with yourbusiness-critical keywords for greater relevancy, just like you’d optimize your web copy. !dditionally,consistent geo-location references are important for ranking on Local (or map) Search. Be sure to fill outall the available information fields consistently across all the online business centers to help establishtrust in your geo-location. Business listing centers will allow you to correct the business location on themap if necessary by dragging the pushpin.Getting StartedYou can get started by one of two methods: 1. Search for and claim or add your business listings in Google, Yahoo, and Bing local business listing centers. Fill out all the applicable fields. Your ownership claim will need to be verified either by mail or by phone. The postcard and automated phone message will give you a code that you enter into the verification page to confirm your listing. 2. Or, use a tool such as to automatically search for and score your listing center. Page 3 of 9
  4. 4. GetListed.orgUsing saves you time by organizing the links to the top business center listings in one placefor convenience. You can see at a glance if you’ve missed any of the recommended listing centers. At adeeper level, you can see if any of your listing centers include reviews or if you’ve missed adding photos.Although not essential, includes links to Yelp, Best of the Web, and Hotfrog. Claim theseother listings after completing and verifying your Google, Yahoo, and Bing local business listings. Page 4 of 9
  5. 5. Google Place PageThe Google Place page has grown from a business listing to a control center that complements your webanalytics. It includes Google Analytics–like charts of impressions and actions broken down by day and byaction.It also: Lists your top search queries Maps the regions by zip code that contribute the most driving direction requests Breaks down the number of driving direction requests per regionThis is useful information to help focus your mail and AdWords campaigns on your most productivegeographic areas. Page 5 of 9
  6. 6. There are options to share special announcements, respond to reviews, create a QR code, and to buildfree coupons for print or for mobile phones. All of this takes only minutes to create and implement.The Google Place page is a cost-efficient use of your (free) advertising dollars. In fact, some businessesreport that the Google Place page is their most successful form of marketing.Bing Business PortalBing has its own version of the Google Place page. Even though it is currently in beta, it is a promisingpromotional vehicle. With it, you can create deals and promote them on both the Bing desktop andmobile devices. Like the Google Place page, it’s free. Unlike the Google Place page, there’s an option tolist your products or menus individually or by link. Better yet, you can create a mobile menu, a hugebenefit for the restaurant sector where 50% of searches for dining choices are done on mobile devices. Page 6 of 9
  7. 7. The best thing about the Bing Business Portal is the integration with Facebook. Coupons that you createusing their easy Deal Editor wizard will not only be promoted in Bing search results, on mobile devices,and on your Bing Business Portal page, but also on your Facebook page, should you choose to link it. Youcan also: Design and publish your own mobile website Upload and caption images Add links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts Create and download a window sticker with your business contact info and a QR code Authorize others to manage your listingsWhile the Bing Business Portal is lacking all the analytics that the Google Place page includes, it’s still inbeta and may change. Page 7 of 9
  8. 8. Yahoo Local Listing CenterThe Yahoo Local Listing Center offers two classes of listings, the Basic and the Enhanced. Basic listingsare free, but limited. With the Enhanced listings, at $9.95 per month per location, you can add: Up to ten photos Company tagline Fully searchable long description Two additional links to a web site useful for menu pages or product descriptions Performance reports to tell you how many customers are seeing and acting on your listingLike the other local business listing centers, both versions also offer a map, driving directions, ratings,categories, hours, payment methods, and so on.ConclusionIncreasing your business’ visibility in Local Search was never so easy or so inexpensive. Claiming andcompleting your Google, Yahoo, and Bing local business listings takes very little time and is a cost-effective use of your marketing dollars, whether you use these in place of other marketing channels orto augment those that already exist. Page 8 of 9
  9. 9. About the AuthorMargery Spears is a practicing Search Engine Optimization expert at Confluence Digital, LLC. Margery hasbeen doing organic search engine optimization full-time since 2007. Born in Pennsylvania, she has livedin many parts of the US before settling down in Seattle. She is the proud friend of two cats and a dog,and can be found on weekends on one of the many bike paths in Seattle under many layers of rain gear.Follow her on Twitter @MargeryS.About Confluence DigitalConfluence Digital, LLC is a Seattle-based digital marketing consultancy providing search engineoptimization (SEO), paid search (PPC), web analytics and other search engine marketing, onlineadvertising and strategy solutions to B2B and B2C clients. Follow us on Twitter @ConfluenceDigtl. Page 9 of 9